If you want to join us in any of our activities, please contact HELEN through email@example.com
Sept 2008 saw the re-launch of the BOYCOTT campaign. We were out once again on the High Street in Exeter on Sept 27th, but this time with a difference; our two boycott oranges! Two game members of EPSC wore these ‘designer’ costumes to attract shoppers’ attention and to add a bit of levity to the event. It worked very well, see picture. They will be appearing in other local towns throughout 2009, so watch out!
WEST BANK labelling is one area we are focusing on, with both supermarkets and small outlets alike. This is the issue of produce very misleadingly labelled “WEST BANK” which is a smoke screen for Israeli settlements. The Palestinian Ambassador to the UK has confirmed that no Palestinian produce from the WEST BANK has reached the shelves of our supermarkets so all this produce is sourced from the illegal Israeli settlements.
As you will see from the e-mail trail with Sainsbury’s (and DEFRA), they freely admit that they source from Israeli settlements and maintain that they are clearly differentiated! They seem to totally miss the point that they are breaking international law by dealing with suppliers in the illegal settlements. We want to press them on their misleading labeling, but also on the legal and ethical issue of sourcing products from illegally occupied territory.
WHAT YOU CAN DO : check in your local store , then write (or talk) to the store manager/owner plus the central Customer Services (for store chains) to register your concern.
Also write to DEFRA for clarification on its interpretation of the EU directive as applied to the West-Bank last updated in 2003.
For more background info on the boycott campaign , go to BIG campaign website to find out more about Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). You can find answers to your FAQs including why Boycott Israel.
Want to know more about the arguments in favour of a boycott and other useful links, then click on one of the following:
Ruth Tenne’s article “The Campaign against Settlements' “
November 2005 :we kicked off our BIG campaign at our annual Palestine Day event at Exeter university in November 2005. We invited Betty Hunter to speak on the subject and also had a stall dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the campaign.
It’s not an easy job as there seems to be a reluctance to embrace this ; it is seen as somewhat negative by some activists. However, we are simply responding to a call from Palestinian civil society across a wide spectrum to help highlight the situation in Palestine through a boycott campaign. We are keen to mobilise grassroots activists as people did around South Africa and the issue of apartheid. There are many similarities between Israel and South Africa. We therefore have plenty of work to do. The boycott call also links in well with our commitment to support the Palestinian economy by selling Palestinian olive oil and associated products.
December 10th 2005 : the National Day of Action, we were out on the High St in Exeter talking to shoppers outside Tesco and M&S. We had a table with goods from the stores from Israel and alternatives too. We had a lot of positive responses and a number of people took the time to sign the postcards. We even had co-operation from the staff in Tesco after there had been a complaint from a shopper of harassment. A good start to our campaign.
2006 saw us out on the High St in Exeter on several national boycott days of action. A small but effective presence which engaged many shoppers. We made some banners to attract attention and allow people to read about why we were there from a safe distance. People then came forward and actually asked for a leaflet themselves. We handed out a lot of leaflets on the boycott issue as well as coming into conversation with shoppers about the situation in Palestine. Many people were also willing to sign our postcards to the store manager too. The response was very encouraging and a good way to raise awareness about Palestine, plus something specific to ask people to do.
2007 we wanted to shift the focus to another town. One new member has been involved in a campaign to tackle WAITROSE about goods from Israel in the light of their more ethical stance in their mission statement. This will be the focus of the next boycott action day.
Feb 10th 2007 a small group of us also joined other activists at the national depot of Carmel –Agrexco, the leading importer of Israeli goods and in particular from enterprises in illegal settlements. We were small in number but we managed to block both entrances for a couple of hours. It was a chance to meet other activists and exchange notes on campaigning. The Boycott campaign is building up to larger actions outside this establishment in the future.
The BIG campaign is also linked with our efforts to promote the sale of Palestinian goods and in particular fair-trade products from Palestine. In doing this alongside the boycott campaign we are able to link up with local fair-trade and green groups and events. This allows us to tap in to a wider audience and raise awareness about the situation in Palestine.